US embassy cable - 06OSLO18

NORWAY HOPES TO JUMPSTART SRI LANKA PEACE TALKS

Identifier: 06OSLO18
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO18 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-05 12:00:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV CE NO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000018 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, CE, NO 
SUBJECT: NORWAY HOPES TO JUMPSTART SRI LANKA PEACE TALKS 
 
REF: 05 OSLO 1263 
 
Classified By: Pol/E Chief Mike Hammer for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  Norway's Minister of International 
Development Erik Solheim will travel to Colombo January 23-26 
in an effort to jumpstart peace talks between the Government 
and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Solheim and 
his team are quite concerned that the situation in Sri Lanka 
will deteriorate if there is no return to the negotiating 
table and if the "loosely upheld" ceasefire simply limps 
along.  End summary. 
 
Current Situation Dicey 
- - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
2.  (C) Norwegian MFA Special Advisor for Sri Lanka Lisa 
Golden shared with us Minister Solheim's concerns over the 
current impasse and state-of-play in Sri Lanka.  The 
Norwegians are worried that instead of discussing substantive 
issues, the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) are 
jockeying over which side gets to dictate where to hold talks 
and who can participate.  Norway offered to host talks in 
Oslo in August of 2005 (reftel), but the GSL refused to give 
the LTTE the international prestige Oslo would bestow.  The 
issue of venue has now become larger than finding a suitable 
location as neither side wants to start negotiations at a 
location the other side dictated.  Norway hopes that the 
offer to host the first round of discussions in Japan, with a 
second round in Norway, will be accepted so that discussions 
can commence. 
 
Can Solheim Visit Jumpstart Talks ? 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
3.  (C) Solheim is planning to visit Sri Lanka January 23 for 
three days of meetings with both the LTTE and the GSL.  He 
tentatively plans to stop off and meet with his Indian 
counterparts on his way back to Norway.  According to Golden, 
if the venue issue is still unresolved by the time Solheim 
visits, Solheim will push for resolution.  The MFA is 
concerned that the longer the ceasefire continues to limp 
along "loosely upheld" with no real tangible progress, the 
easier it is for the more hard-line military commanders of 
the LTTE to move away from the ceasefire agreement and 
possibly to increase attacks. 
 
4.  (C) Norway believes that the LTTE does care about its 
international reputation, although to what degree is unclear, 
and therefore the threat of eliminating its funding sources 
continues to be one factor restraining them from more 
violence.  Golden believes that if the EU names the LTTE as a 
terrorist group or if the U.S. aggressively pursues LTTE 
fundraising, the LTTE will feel the pressure.  Interestingly, 
Norway announced on January 5 that it will no longer 
associate itself with EU terrorist listings, but rather will 
follow only UN listings.  In explaining this decision, 
Foreign Minister Stoere said that Norway's association with 
EU listings "could cause difficulties for Norway in its role 
as a neutral facilitator in ongoing peace processes. 
Norway's role could become difficult if one of the parties 
involved was included on the EU list, and the opportunities 
for contact thus restricted." 
 
Comment 
- - - - 
 
5.  (C) Norway remains committed to continuing its role as 
peace negotiator in Sri Lanka but is becoming increasingly 
pessimistic and fears that without a resumption of talks 
soon, the situation will deteriorate.  Solheim would welcome 
any suggestions we have for how he might best help jumpstart 
the peace process during his January visit. 
 
6.  (C) Comment continued.  Norway's new left-of-center 
government, as is clear from its decision to disassociate 
itself from the EU terrorist listing, is eager to carve out 
even a greater role as an international mediator.  While 
Norway in no way wants this decision to be seen as it walking 
away from its international legal obligations to combat 
terrorism, it does want to maximize its ability to engage 
with groups some would define as terrorists, the LTTE being a 
prime example. 
Visit Oslo's Classified website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m 
 
WEBSTER 
 
 
NNNN 

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